By creating symmetry between Israelis and Arabs, Jews on the left are not only missing the bigger picture — they are actively taking part in erasing the Palestinian struggle.
By Rami Younis and Orly Noy
The sad state of the “left-wing camp” was clear long before the final results of the Israeli elections were published last week. Without skipping a beat, the ritual of declaring what is wrong with the left — and how to fix it — began.
Among the more popular of those suggestions was the cure-all “Jewish-Arab partnership” potion. The prescription sounds so ideologically correct and politically necessary that any criticism of it is often interpreted as jaded pedantry at best. And yet, it’s worth taking a more thorough look at the essence of that partnership.
Invisible Jewish hegemony
More than just expressing an aspiration for equality, the idea of Jewish-Arab partnership assumes symmetry. In that sense, it is a slightly updated version of the concept of “coexistence,” which has turned into somewhat of a curse word in the peace camp in recent years — and for good reason. It’s not that we oppose the idea of coexistence but rather that we have come to understand that coexistence doesn’t reflect distorted power relations between Jewish Israelis and Palestinians. It has become too comfortable of an expression to be used by those for whom the only coexistence they know is the kind between a horse and its rider.
It’s safe to assume that those calling for “Jewish-Arab partnership” don’t want that foolish type of coexistence, yet they benefit from the same imagined, dangerous sense of symmetry. It is no coincidence that Jewish-Ashkenazi men are those who typically lead those calls for partnership. Likewise, it is not merely symbolic that talk of Jewish-Arab partnership almost always puts Jewish before Arab, reflecting the invisible Jewish hegemony that forms the bedrock of the very concept.Read More